Moved by the Spirit: Religion and the Movement for Black Lives explores the religious and theological significance of the Black Lives Matter Movement. The volume argues for engaging the complex ways religion is present in the movement as well as how the movement is changing religion. The contributors analyze this relationship from a variety of religious and theological perspectives on public protest, the meaning of freedom, Black humanity, the arts and practices of Black religious culture, and the transformation of Black religious communities. The volume reveals that the Movement for Black Lives is changing our understanding of religious experience and communities.
Christophe D. Ringer is Associate Professor of Theological Ethics and Society at Chicago Theological Seminary.
Teresa L. Smallwood is James Franklin Kelly and Hope Eyster Kelly Associate Professor of Public Theology at United Lutheran Seminary.
Emilie M. Townes is E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Chair in Ethics and Society and University Distinguished Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society and Gender and Sexuality Studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School.
Foreword, Emilie Townes
Introduction, Teresa L. Smallwood and Christophe D. Ringer
Part One: Black Public Theology
Chapter One: “Today is Not My Day to Die”: Public Theology, Precarious Lives, and the Politics of the Streets, Michael Brandon McCormack and Stachelle Bussey
Chapter Two: Black Lives Matter: A Black Theological Hauntology, Charlene Sinclair
Chapter Three: Their Words Became Flesh, Teresa L. Smallwood
Chapter Four: We Gon’ Be Alright: Public Theology, Subjectivity and Experiencing the Sacred in the Movement for Black Lives, Christophe D. Ringer
Part Two: Black Humanity
Chapter Five: Self-Amending Blackness and The Movement for Black Lives: Justice and Leadership in Liberatory Spaces, Forrest E. Harris
Chapter Six: On In(Visibilities), José Francisco Morales Torres
Chapter Seven: The Emergence of the Black Buddhist Radical Tradition, Pamela Ayo Yetunde and Rima Vesely-Flad
Part Three: Black Churches
Chapter Eight: The Black Church Movement Profile is Dead: The Audacious Absurdity of Transgressive Imagination Between “The American Dream” and the Nightmare, Tamura Lomax
Chapter Nine: Walk Together Children: Lessons in Unity, Leah D. Daughtry
Chapter Ten: Slain…in the Spirit: A Black Womanist Pneumatological Aesthetic of the Movement for Black Lives, Eboni Marshall Turman
Part Four: Black Religious Culture
Chapter Eleven: Preaching Wholeness for Black Lives, Debra Mumford
Chapter Twelve: Envisioning Justice Beyond Resistance: Black Lives Matter & Aretha Franklin’s “Mary Don’t You Weep”, Herbert R. Marbury
Chapter Thirteen: Keeping the Waters Troubled for a Better Day: A Dialectic of Resistance and Restoration in the Movement for Black Lives, Scott C. Williamson
Part Five: Bearing Witness for Black Lives
Chapter Fourteen: “My God is Black, My God is Female”: Rhetoric, Race and the Spirituality of Black Lives Matter, Andre E. Johnson
Chapter Fifteen: An Epistle on Ferguson, Osagyefo Sekou
Chapter Sixteen: Reading the Fine Print: Evaluating our Commitment to All Black Lives, Leslie Callahan
Chapter Seventeen: A Call to Heal, Traci Blackmon
Afterword, Victor Anderson
About the Contributors
Since first landing on these shores in 1619, each generation of Black people has faced the continual assault on the simple idea that our lives have meaning. Often lethal, almost always violent, this ever present attack on Black Life has also given rise in each generation to social and political resistance. The chroniclers of that resistance have given not just voice to the moment but also inspiration to later generations. Moved By The Spirit joins the library of texts made sacred as witness to the Black struggle for life. This book's value for today is immense. Its contribution to the future inestimable.
A radically democratic movement requires a radically democratic imagination. The Movement for Black Lives is not only one of the most important political movements of the 21st century, but it is also an intellectual revolution that forces us to fundamentally rethink the foundations of religion. This carefully curated collection of essays offers readers a critical cartography of the new landscape of religion in our time while providing the conceptual tools to comprehend the risks of faith that underwrite the actions of a new generation of activists in the struggle for deep democracy.
More than a decade after Trayvon Martin’s murder Moved by the Spirit: Religion and the Movement for Black Lives is a theological-anthropological “call to conscience”. This compilation of essays, a critique of fundamentalism in Black religious spaces and White Christian Nationalism and a deep analysis of Black agency in response to and in concert with the Holy Spirit, is a timely gift to the academy, the church, and society.